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THE WORLD BANK IN SOUTH ASIA - APRIL 2005

An Update

Courtesy: www.worldbank.org

 

Afghanistan

The World Bank has assigned US$ 343.8 million in grants and US$ 436.4 million in no-interest loans, for eighteen development and emergency reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.  The parliamentary and provincial council elections will be held in September 2005. 
 

Bangladesh

A Workshop on "Bangladesh: Trade, Growth, and Export Competitiveness" was held in Dhaka in March 2005. A study titled "Bangladesh Growth and Export Competitiveness" was also launched at the workshop, which identified the main constraints and challenges to Bangladeshís export competitiveness, especially in apparel trade. The report also considered a strategy for sustained export growth, and made recommendations on streamlining policies, improvement of trade and transport logistics, and strengthening quality and safety standards.

World Bank Approves $200 Million for Flood Rehabilitation

Bangladesh suffered devastating floods between July and September 2004. Approximately 38 percent of the country was inundated. A Damage and Needs Assessment Study, conducted jointly by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank, recommended a Post-Flood Recovery Assistance Program, for which the World Bank approved a US$200 million package. The three broad components of the package are:

         Infrastructure Rehabilitation: for reconstruction of damaged roads, bridges, culverts, and municipal infrastructure. The component will also support the rehabilitation and renovation of primary and secondary schools in a way that the schools can also be used as disaster shelters for the affected local communities. In addition, the Bank will also support rehabilitation of 31 flood-affected fish farms under the Department of Fisheries.

         Import Finance: This component will finance eligible imports which are urgently needed by the public and private sectors for reconstruction and rehabilitation following a flood.

         Livelihood Restoration: This component will provide credits to 400,000 poor households affected by flood as well as those affected in the northern districts of Bangladesh.

 

India

India needs US$1.2 billion for Tsunami Recovery
A preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment Report prepared jointly by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and United Nations at the request of the Government of India specifies that rehabilitation and reconstruction costs in the four tsunami-affected states and territories of India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Pondicherry) are estimated at US$1.2 billion.

The worst affected sectors are housing, fisheries, livelihood, infrastructure, and agriculture. Reconstruction needs for housing alone are estimated at US$490 million and fisheries at US$285 million.

State-wise, Tamil Nadu is the worst affected with reconstruction needs estimated at US$868 million, followed by Kerala (US$158 million), Pondicherry (US$114 million), and Andhra Pradesh (US$73 million).

Reconstruction has already begun in the affected areas, though some sectors and groups will continue to receive relief for a while.


Pakistan

World Bank Approves US$100 Million to Enhance Quality and Access to Education in Punjab

The World Bank has approved a US$100 million credit for Pakistanís largest province, Punjab.   The credit is aimed at enhancing and improving the quality and access to education.

Although Punjab has slightly better education indicators than other provinces, it still trails behind in comparison to low-income areas in the region. The enrolment rate remains very low with 47 percent male and 43 percent female primary net enrolment rates. In terms of adult literacy rates, Punjab is also among the lowest in the region in terms of adult literacy, with only 36 percent of women and 57 percent of men considered literate.

The system has a high rate of dropouts and repeaters. There are substantial disparities across different regions of the province.  Low family income, high costs of school materials, poor quality of teaching, and inadequate infrastructure are the main constraints to providing greater access to education.

World Bank Provides US$123 Million Loan To Rehabilitate and Modernize Taunsa Barrage
Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistanís economy and one of the key engines of
economic growth. The sector contributes about 25 percent of GDP, employs nearly
50 percent of the rural labour force, and is responsible, directly or indirectly, for over 60 percent of exports. Around 80 percent of Pakistanís arable lands and 90 percent of agricultural output depend on irrigation. Barrages in the Indus Basin are vital parts of Pakistanís irrigation network. Their main purpose is to divert water from the rivers into canals serving vast areas of irrigated land.

The World Bank approved a US$123 million loan to the Government of Pakistan in March to rehabilitate the Taunsa Barrage, on the River Indus, which provides irrigation for two million acres and drinking water in the rural areas of southern Punjab benefiting several million farmers.

"The main problems encountered in the old barrages are erosion at the downstream toe and deterioration of the concrete floor, due in part to changes in river hydrology and old age," explains Xiaokai Li, Senior Water Resources Specialist with the World Bank. "The Taunsa Barrage was completed in 1958, and it has been identified as the barrage with the highest priority for rehabilitation. It requires urgent measures to avoid severe economic and social impacts on the lives of millions of poor farmers through interruption of irrigation on millions of acres of irrigated land."

The project will ensure irrigation of the cultivated lands in the area of the Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan canals, and through the Taunsa-Panjnad Link Canal that supplements the water supply to Panjnad Headworks canals. In addition to rehabilitating and strengthening the Taunsa Barrage and associated structures, this project will renovate and modernize gates, hoists and operating and control facilities; improve operation and maintenance capability; and rehabilitate design studies for other barrages in Punjab.

"This is the beginning of the rehabilitation of Punjabís entire irrigation system, one of the largest in the world," said John Wall, Pakistan Country Director. "The World Bank has been a partner with Pakistan in developing its water resources for decades and will continue to be for decades to come."

 

Maldives

World Bank Supports Tsunami Recovery Efforts
The World Bank announced the approval of US$14 million to the Maldives to assist the government in its efforts to provide social services and restore lost livelihoods in the aftermath of the tsunami.Total financing needs for the Maldivesís recovery and reconstruction are estimated to be approximately US$304 million. A financing plan is currently under preparation by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, which will identify the sectors and activities in which reconstruction financing is needed and funding sources available.

 

 The tsunami impact on the Maldives was widespread. Tidal waves, ranging from 4 to 14 feet, were reported in all parts of the country. There have been 83 confirmed deaths with another 25 people missing and feared dead. Over 1,300 people suffered injuries. Thirty-nine islands were significantly damaged and nearly one third of the Maldivesís 300,000 people were severely affected. Nearly 12,000 people have been displaced from their islands, and another 8,500 had to be temporarily relocated, displacing approximately 7 percent of the population. The force of the waves caused widespread devastation of shelter and infrastructure in the atolls. The subsequent flooding wiped out electricity on many islands, destroying communication links with most atolls, and destroyed about 15 percent of the islandsí water supply.

 

Nepal

Development Marketplace 2005: 40 Enterprising Finalists Will Compete for Innovation Grants

Forty innovative ideas and inventive partnerships from across the Nepal have made it to the final round of Nepal Development Marketplace 2005, a competition intended to generate fresh thinking about the delivery of basic services to the poor, living in conflict affected areas.

All 40 finalists will be invited to compete in a national competition scheduled for May 5, 2005. At least 20 winners are expected to each receive a grant award of up to 1.4 million Nepalese Rupees (US$20,000) to test their ideas over a one year period beginning July 1, 2005.

The finalists range from grassroots service providers, including public sector development agencies, community-based organizations and nongovernment organizations; schools and universities; private sector businesses; and even private citizens. Their enterprising ideas and creative partnerships focus on improvements in the delivery of basic services in the areas of education; health; water and sanitation; agriculture, irrigation, and food security; financial services; small business and micro-enterprise support; energy; information and communication technologies; infrastructure; and integrated rural development.

An intensive, nationwide media campaign during the months of November and December last year produced 1,037 eligible entries by the time the call for proposals closed on December 31, 2004. Since then, a technical team composed of over 50 development practitioners, sectoral experts, and journalists screened and ranked all proposals against a set of assessment criteria and narrowed down the most promising proposals to a short-list of 245. The criteria included innovation, partnership, sustainability, replicability, impact, and cost effectiveness.

The technical assessors gathered for a workshop here on March 19, 2005, to further evaluate the 245 short-listed proposals against the same set of assessment criteria. During the first session, team members chose the top 80 proposals. In the second session, they selected the top 40 proposals for graduation to the national competition.

All 40 finalists will be invited to submit detailed proposals in the lead up to the final competition. These proposals will require a more comprehensive description of their business or implementation plan with detailed budget. An independent jury of eminent persons will also be formed to examine the detailed proposals received from the finalists and to publicly interview them at the national event before selecting the winners.

All 40 final proposals, along with a description of the composition of the team of technical assessors, are now posted on the official Nepal Development Marketplace 2005 website at www.ndm.org.np. Following the national competition on May 5, 2005, this website will be periodically updated to reflect implementation progress by the grant awardees and to showcase lessons of experience. Furthermore, all proposals that made it to the initial shortlist of 245 will also be posted on this website, and can be searched by sector, location, and organization. Development partners and funding agencies will be encouraged to use this website to identify promising ideas about development and service delivery and to locate potential local partners.

Nepal Development Marketplace 2005, locally branded as the "Lau Na Aba Ta Kehi Garau" contest, is a collaborative effort between the World Bank, Nepalís international development partners, the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) Resource Centre, the Nepal Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF), Kantipur Publications Pvt. Ltd., and the Society of Economic Journalists, Nepal (SEJON).

For more information on World Bank activities in Nepal, please visit
http://www.worldbank.org.np/

For more information on the Nepal Development Marketplace 2005, please visit:
http://www.ndm.org.np/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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